Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


THE BEST puPET theater OF ALL!

Pardon me for posting off-topic, but I wanted to share the wonderful experience I had in Kansas City, Missouri last week. Last spring I was contacted by the Paul Mesner Puppet Theater who was interested in producing my picture book The Best Pet of All for their November production. My publisher was able to work out all the legal formalities, and last week I flew down to watch the opening night premiere.

It was wonderful! In the morning I saw two performances, one sitting with an audience of 200 preschool-second graders who roared with laughter, and one sitting behind the scenes watching two puppeteers scurrying about as they worked their magic. In the evening I watched a performance attended mainly by adult donors then signed books afterwards.

I was especially curious as to how they would take my 500-word story (which takes about five minutes to read) and turn it into a 50-minute production. They did so by paying close attention to the illustrator Hanako Wakiyama's artwork and turning small details into full scenes. For example on the first page of the book the boy asks his mom for a dog and she says, "No, dogs are too messy." Hanako painted the mom working out to a television exercise show. The puppeteers picked up on this detail and created an entire scene where the mom is working out to a TV show called Davy Jones' Fitness Locker: "Alright Ladies, it's time to do those Capt'n Crunches!" It was hilarious. They fleshed out other scenes in a similar way.

I was amazed at all the clever tricks the puppeteers had up their sleeves, from using a real fire extinguisher to make the dragon look like he was roasting hot dogs in the living room, to using different versions of the same puppet for different scenes (there is one dragon puppet for when he is eating spaghetti in the bathtub, and a completely different dragon puppet for when he is dancing to music).

It was exciting to see my story come to life in this new way and I'm very grateful for everyone at Paul Mesner Puppets for the care they took with my book. Once again I'm reminded of how our books have a life of their own.


Christy said...

I just checked out their website. How wonderful to see your creation performed and interpreted this way.

Edie Hemingway said...

Congratulations on this new interpretation of your picture book. What fun!

Lauren said...

What a wonderful experience David! Also wonderful that you were able to watch it performed to so many different audiences, in front of the scenes and behind the scenes. Lovely!

betsy woods said...

David, this just makes me grin.

Mark said...

Congratulations, David! We love The Best Pet of All and I wish we could see it "come to life" on stage.